The recent revelations regarding widespread match fixing across the footballing world will have come as no surprise to many people directly involved in the professional game, with 380 targeted matches across Europe identified by Europol this week.
Among those 380 matches, 425 match officials, players, club officials and criminals have been shown to be involved, yet none of the fixtures or those thought to be involved have been revealed by Europol as of yet. The question now being asked by those directly involved in the sport and fans of the game is simple, how can corruption and match fixing be kept out of Football, and sport in general. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer that will prevent this kind of illegal activity from happening in the game of Football, due to the huge amounts of money involved for those organising and taking part in match fixing.
One would have to imagine a great deal more matches will have been targeted, with more people involved than has been uncovered by Europol so far, so the true extent of the match fixing scandal will never be fully clear. With a great deal of players, match officials and club officials being paid more than ever in the professional game in Europe, you would expect this would eliminate any risk of those involved in matches being tempted to get involved, although financial gain may not be the only reason for their involvement.
It has been seen in other sports where match fixing has been uncovered that many of those involved had been victims of blackmail or received threats towards them and their families, therefore giving them little choice but to take part.
A strong message now needs to be sent out to anyone that may feel tempted to get involved in a criminal act which has severely damaged the integrity and reputation of football across Europe and the wider world, from not only the governing football bodies, but the law enforcement agencies across the world.